COUNCIL chiefs have agreed to press on with a new multi-million pound train station for Worcestershire - pointing to the explosion in rail travel.

The county council's Conservative leadership has backed Worcestershire Parkway by saying it will boost inward investment and help transform the economy.

Members of the Tory cabinet, which met at County Hall today, also said the Norton-based facility would stop the drip-drip of commuters heading out of Worcestershire to catch a train.

As the Worcester News revealed yesterday, the station is now going ahead after a third party landowner was paid off, ending a dispute over the land.

But the move, which has led to a controversial public inquiry being shelved, means Worcestershire Parkway faces a 10-month delay - and will not be complete until March 2018.

During the cabinet meeting Councillor Ken Pollock, cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said it was much-needed.

"Clearly this is very important for the county, it's been under discussion for some time," he said.

"We hope it will fulfil our desire to create 25,000 new jobs by 2025."

He said Britain has seen "fantastic growth" in rail use, saying it has doubled since 1997 to 1.6 billion journeys annually.

"That compares to a 10 per cent rise in Holland, 25 per cent in France and 23 per cent in Germany," he said.

He also said too many Worcester people are put off trying to park near Foregate Street railway station so head to Birmingham, Warwick, Cheltenham and even Oxford to hop on a train, harming the city's economy.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, added: "It's obviously an important project for the whole of Worcestershire, it's been many years in the making, this project.

"And this is a key milestone in this journey - if you think about journey times this will start to really open up cross-country services, which is really important."

County Hall had started Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) proceedings due to its battle with a firm called Norton Parkway Developments Ltd, which said it had a "legal right" to develop the site, off Woodbury Lane.

But the landowner Annie Hartwright has now reached a private agreement to sell the land to the council, with the CPO objections withdrawn.

The firm has blasted the sale and as we revealed yesterday, now claims it wants to deliver Parkway on a different patch of land in Norton which it does directly own, yards from the railway line.

Parkway will include a single platform on the Cotswold Line and two platforms on the Birmingham-Bristol line, as well as a booking office, toilets, some retail and a 500-space car park.

* EXCLUSIVE: Worcestershire Parkway public inquiry shelved after pay-out - but station faces 10-month delay